A sausage patty stand, a refreshment bar that is always full and players who fight each other and send mines on a dented lawn. Here is real football as we like it in Brittany. Every weekend, this tradition continues in every town in the region, a real football ground. A thousand leagues from Ligue 1, we meet here with friends on the pitch, to talk about the evening before and occasionally score goals. Nothing abnormal, therefore, to see so much agitation on Sunday on the lawn of Bourgbarré, a small town located south of Rennes. A detail still strikes the football fan that I am because none of the players treading the green square deigns to run. Did they do too much on Saturday night, going to bed early?
No way. All of these players are actually taking part in a football tournament while walking, a slow version of the king sport. Invented in England at the beginning of the 21st century, the discipline is now finding more and more followers in France. It is part of a sport-health approach, allowing people of all ages to practice a sporting activity without injuring themselves. “Tackling and contact are prohibited, which limits the risk of injury,” said Sébastien Perrault, player for US Vern Football.
“We find all the sensations of football”
A few years ago, the latter had however said goodbye to football after a rupture of the cruciate ligaments. “It was my passion and I missed kicking the ball with my friends,” he says. Since he discovered football while walking, Sébastien can once again indulge in his passion. “I even rediscovered the essence of football because everything is based on passing and positioning,” he says.
Former professional player at Stade Rennais, Jean-Michel Bellat also finds the pleasure of testing the leather at 79 years old. “I still have trouble sometimes not to run, it’s so instinctive, assures the septuagenarian. But otherwise, we find all the sensations of football. And it doesn’t look like it’s physical! “. Head of the Gouesnou section (Finistère), Frédéric Moysan agrees. “We work a lot on cardio because we are always on the move. And we sometimes feel that it pulls at the level of the muscles on Monday morning at work, ”he laughs.
Many women in the teams
Good for the body, walking football is also good for the mind. “We are here to play sports but also to have fun, says Loïc, 59 and licensed at the Tinténiac club (Ille-et-Vilaine). It’s nice because there is no stake and in addition we have passed the age of taking the lead as is sometimes the case in amateur football. Intergenerational, football while walking is also intended to be mixed with the presence of many women in the teams.
Deprived of football by her parents when she was a kid, Isabelle, 50, thus savors her happiness. “I have always been immersed in the world of football but I can finally practice it,” she says, especially appreciating “the good atmosphere” that reigns in her team. For the anecdote, it was the club of Saint-Porchaire in Charente-Maritime which won the tournament, winning 1 to 0 against the players of Crevin (Ille-et-Vilaine). But in Bourgbarré on Sunday, the main thing was not there.